Dahlias are some of the showiest flowers you can grow in your garden. They produce large, colorful blooms above attractive foliage from midsummer to fall frost. The tuberous roots of dahlias are usually dug up and stored for the winter in cold climates, but they may also be planted directly in the garden as “bare root” plants. Bare root plants are dormant when purchased, and should be planted as soon as possible after you receive them.
Planting bare root dahlias takes a few steps, so read through this tutorial carefully before you begin.
- Pick a spot in your garden that gets at least six hours of sun per day. Dahlias like warm weather, so plant them after the last frost of spring.
- Once you’ve found a spot, dig holes that are about twice as wide and deep as the roots of your dahlias (you can do this by measuring with a ruler). Space the holes at least 12 inches apart to give them room to grow.
- In each hole, add some organic compost and mix it with the soil you dug out using a shovel or rake.
- Place your dahlias in their holes on top of the soil/compost mixture, with their roots pointing down and their buds facing up.
- Fill each hole in with more soil until it reaches the level of the rest of your garden, then pack it down gently but firmly (you can use the back of your shovel for this).
- Water well immediately after planting, then water again if there is no rain for one week or more after planting.
If you’re wondering how to plant bare root dahlias, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn about the types of soil you should use, pesticides, and watering, and staking. Here are some tips to get you started. You’ll also learn how to choose the best location for your new plant. And don’t worry about securing or staking dahlias – you won’t need to do any of those.
The ideal soil for planting bare root Dahlia is well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It should also have a high organic matter content. Organic matter like well-rotted cow manure and pine bark are great for this purpose, but they can be used in place of organic matter as well. Be sure to plant your bare root Dahlias several inches deeper than the soil’s required depth.
When planting bare root Dahlias, make sure that the soil is about 55° F. This soil needs to be moist but not soggy, as too much moisture will lead to tuber rot. Dahlias do not need watering until they reach six to twelve inches tall, but watering them too much in the early growth stage will prevent strong roots. However, it is important not to water the plant more than once a week until it is six to twelve inches tall.
Before planting your bare root Dahlias, dig a two-foot-diameter hole in the ground. Dig out the soil about twelve inches deep. Once you’ve dug the hole, mix the bulb mix with equal parts of native soil. After placing the tuber in the ground, make sure not to break the necks because this breaks the connection between the tuber and the future eyes of the plant.
Fungicides are often used to control fungal diseases, but you should not use all of them on your dahlias. The most common fungi that attack dahlias are aphids, beetles, leaf-hoppers, spider mites, and thrips. Fungicides are typically labeled for certain plants and fungi, so you should choose one that is labeled for dahlias. To be sure, contact your local Cooperative Extension for guidance.
To help your dahlias grow and flower, feed them often. They need a high-phosphorus fertilizer. The fertilizer should contain the middle number of NPK, phosphorus. It should be applied when the plants are three weeks old, then once a month until September. Stopping fertilization in September will encourage a larger tuber clump for winterizing. Dahlias are susceptible to slugs and other pests, so if you want to keep them healthy, you may want to apply a snail control product before the plant emerges, or spray them with a fish emulsion.
You should also avoid reused dahlia tubers. The tubers may be contaminated and contain a fungus. To prevent this, you should thoroughly inspect the roots before using them in the garden. Also, check for bacterial rot, which is very difficult to cure. If you discover an infection, discard the plant immediately. You should also sterilize growing benches, production areas, and shipping areas.
The best way to water your bare-root dahlias is to keep them moist. Dahlias are fussy about temperature. A protected spot in bright sunlight will be warm enough for the tubers, but they need more light to grow. Alternatively, you can use a pop-up greenhouse. For a longer blooming season, move them into a protected spot with more light.
In late summer, you can cut the flowers and keep them in a vase. When watering them, be sure to keep the vase clean. If you can’t do this, you can use a spray bottle full of soapy water. Watering your dahlias will keep them blooming for three to seven days. If you don’t harvest the blooms immediately, you can dig the tubers and store them for next year. For more information, visit Dahlia University.
If you’re not ready to transplant your dahlias outdoors, you can start them indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date in your area. Place the tubers side by side in a shallow tray, covering them with a couple of inches of soil. Water thoroughly and regularly as new growth appears. Dahlias should be planted in early summer, but if you wait until late fall, they won’t store well.
When growing bare root dahlias, you must stake them to ensure they are stable. The height of the stake should be at least 3 to 6 feet above the ground. If you are growing taller varieties, stake them just before the first shoot emerges. Make sure the stake is inserted through the tuber and not the root system. It’s also important to note that the color of the stake is important. If you are using a natural bamboo stake, it will stick out like a dead stem. A Takiron stake is preferred because of its medium green color.
After a few days, the tubers should be moved outdoors and placed in the sun. Do not forget to provide light to them. Although they are easy to grow, they’re finicky about temperature, so the best place for them is a protected spot with bright sunlight. If you have a cold climate, you can plant bare root dahlias indoors until the risk of frost has passed.
Before planting, stake your bare root dahlias. If they’re large, they need to be at least 18 inches apart. Too close together, the plants will be crowded and will tend to grow tall and spindly. Staking bare root dahlias is vital because their roots are shallow. Using a tomato cage to support them is another effective way to provide support for your dahlias.
Potting up tubers
Before you begin potting up your bare root Dahlias, make sure you have the right amount of light. Dahlias require 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, so planting them in late winter or early spring will ensure they have the right amount of light to grow and bloom. They should also be planted in soil that has excellent drainage. You will be surprised at the variety of flower options available!
If your Dahlias are too small to be potted, you can use a larger container. It will be more manageable and less expensive than trying to grow them from seed. You can also try pinching off the lower pair of leaves to encourage them to send up more stems. If you don’t want to disturb the roots, you can simply bury them. This will help support the plant and generate more users later in the season.
After potting the tubers, you should add some compost to the soil. Dahlias prefer moist, well-drained soil, so they require lots of space to grow. Also, a good organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure is best for planting, as these nutrients will help the plants grow properly. When planting, you should also prepare the planting hole by adding soil a few inches deeper than you would normally expect.
Disbudding your dahlias will help increase the size of each flower while decreasing the number of flowers per plant. By keeping the flower buds intact, you will have fewer but larger flowers. This technique is particularly helpful for taller varieties, which need to be staked for support. When planting, stake the plant, and then tie any lengthening stems to the stake. This will help keep the plant steady during growth.
The process of disbudding your dahlias will allow the main flower to grow in its centre, without the distraction of side buds that can stunt its growth. The process of disbudding is generally safe and effective, although you must be careful not to damage the main bud. To prevent the main bud from being damaged, pinch the side buds lightly, just below where they reach the main stem. Also, remove any side buds that are butting up against a leaf.
When dividing dahlia tubers, look for pieces of crown with eyes. The eyes of dahlias are raised circular areas on the stem, near the tuber. Some varieties have eyes that are easier to spot. Make sure the piece of crown you cut is free from any rotting. Be sure to water the plant regularly during hot, sunny days, or when the soil temperature is above 95 degrees.
While dahlias are typically purchased in pots, they can also be bought bare root. In the latter case, you’ll need to plant them yourself. There are a few steps to follow before you start digging. First, it’s important to note that dahlias prefer moist soil. If your soil is dry, consider adding mulch or organic matter. Second, you’ll need to dig a hole wide enough for the roots and deep enough so that the top of the tuber rests just below the soil line. While planting, keep one eye on the soil and one eye on the weather forecast. You’ll want to plant your dahlia tubers three weeks after the last frost date (this will be different depending on where you live). During this time, make sure that temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and water your dahlia tubers regularly to keep them moist until planting time.